The Team

Karl Harrison PhD MSc DipCSE MlfA


Dr Karl Harrison is a Lead Forensic Ecologist with Alecto Forensics, specialising in Forensic Archaeology and Crime Scene Management. He is also a Lecturer in Forensic Archaeology at Cranfield University. Dr Harrison is one of the UK’s most experienced Forensic Archaeologists, and has played an investigative role in many recent high-profile murder cases. As a Crime Scene Investigator and Manager before this, he examined and coordinated forensic investigation on more than 6000 crime scenes.

Dr Harrison has extensive experience of international deployment, having conducted forensic casework and worked on forensic capability development programmes across a range of states. Dr Harrison has worked for Cranfield University over the past eleven years, first as a Research Fellow, and latterly from 2009 as a Lecturer. During that time he has been instrumental in the establishment and ongoing success of the nationally recognised Forensic Modular Masters Programme, has successfully supervised numerous PhD and MSc research theses that have been instrumental in driving forward internationally-recognised research in the field of forensic archaeology.

In addition to the above, Dr Harrison continues to produce internationally recognised research. In 2016 he was invited to work as a specialist archaeological fire investigator at the high profile Must Farm site in Cambridgeshire.

Dr Harrison has worked as a forensic archaeologist for the past fourteen years and is regarded as a national authority in his field.

Gaille MacKinnon BA MSc MFSSoc MIfA FRAI


Gaille MacKinnon is a Lead Forensic Anthropologist and Archaeologist with Alecto Forensics and has been a consultant in these disciplines for the past 19 years. She is a Level I forensic anthropologist certified by examination by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, a member of the Forensic Archaeology Expert Panel certified by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, and is currently the only dually accredited forensic anthropologist and archaeologist in the United Kingdom.

In addition, she is listed as a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist on the expert database of the National Crime Agency and is a member of the Home Office Disaster Victim Identification response team for forensic anthropology.

Gaille has worked for a large number of UK police forces and three forensic service providers and has extensive casework experience which has included: terrorist bombings; disaster victim identification; murder; suspicious death; missing persons; child disappearances; clandestine grave search, location and excavation; cemetery exhumations; forced labour and servitude; and transportation accidents. She has also acted as an expert witness in the UK criminal justice system.

In the international arena, Gaille’s expertise in forensic anthropology and archaeology has been utilised in investigations into war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, mass fatality and terrorist incidents, transportation accidents, and natural disasters. She has worked in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America, and the Caribbean for private, government and non-governmental organisations including the United Nations; the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; the International Commission for Missing Persons; and the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, New York City.

Gaille has extensive experience in teaching forensic archaeology, anthropology and ecology courses to police forces, forensic science and human rights professionals, and search and rescue personnel. She has also taught both undergraduate and masters level students during her time as a Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Dundee and, prior to her departure, was nominated for two School and University-wide teaching awards. She is currently a Fellow at the Cranfield Forensic Institute, Cranfield University, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

Adam McConochie BSc (Hons)


Adam McConochie worked at LGC Forensics from 2003 to 2013 as a Lead Examiner and Casework Team Leader (Sexual Offences), he was also Head of Quality for the Biology department (Risley laboratory) and Manager and Lead Scientist of the Forensic Ecology Service. He is now the Ecology Services Manager and Quality Adviser for Alecto Forensics.

His areas of expertise are broad and wide-ranging - Adam initially worked as an examiner on biology cases and cold case reviews covering blood, body fluids, blood pattern analysis, fibres, hairs, touch and LCN DNA. As he progressed through the company, he became manager of the Forensic Ecology service where he handled the majority of enquiries that involved the disciplines and evidence types of Archaeology, Anthropology, Entomology, Palynology, Soil Science, Botany, Diatoms, Stable Isotopes and Radiocarbon dating. As part of this role, he consulted and managed the ecology casework with various experts in these particular fields and also provided forces with the most appropriate and effective forensic strategies to maximise these evidence types within criminal investigations. His development through ecology has also enabled him to work as an assistant anthropologist and archaeologist at numerous scenes both in the UK and internationally, focusing on search, location and recovery of human remains and the collection of ecology evidence types.

Adam also has extensive experience in managing a productive and quality-focused department, liaising, managing and motivating scientists at all levels and communicating effectively with force customers. His responsibilities also included supervising the UKAS internal and external audits to ensure the maintenance of LGC Forensic's Risley laboratory ISO 9001 and ISO 17025 UKAS accreditation. As part of this role, he also developed, produced and oversaw the validation and verification strategies that ultimately achieved ISO 17025 accreditation for LGC Forensics' new Wakefield laboratory.

Gillian Fowler BSc MSc FRAI

Gillian is a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist at Alecto Forensic Services and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Lincoln.

Gillian has acted as an expert in several UK police investigations including the recovery and the subsequent analysis of human remains, working alongside police investigators, crime scene personnel and forensic pathologists. Prior to this she spent six years working as a full time Forensic Anthropologist for the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG). During this time Gillian participated in over thirty mass grave exhumations and prepared numerous forensic reports for the Guatemalan Prosecutor's office.

Gillian has also completed criminal cases in Kabul, Afghanistan and recently participated in the first mass grave exhumation in Afghanistan as a consultant for Physicians for Human Rights. She has trained medical, legal and police professionals in the field of forensic anthropology and archaeology in Guatemala, El Salvador, Afghanistan, South Africa and Northern Ireland.

Nicholas Marquez-Grant BA Hons PGCE MSc DPhil (Oxon) FRAI (Cert FA-I)

Nicholas is a Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology at Cranfield University and has previously worked as a Specialist Forensic Practitioner in Anthropology and Archaeology for a number of forensic science providers in the UK.

Having worked as a specialist in human skeletal remains from archaeological sites for over fifteen years, he has considerable experience in the excavation and study of cremated and unburnt bone from prehistoric sites to the present day and from a variety of geographical areas. In recent years he has worked full time as a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist in cases from a large number of police forces in the UK, dealing primarily with the search, location, recovery and identification of human remains, and has acted as an expert witness. He has a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and regularly delivers talks to students, forensic scientists and police officers. He is a Member of the British Association of Forensic Anthropology (BAFA) and a Level One Certified Forensic Anthropologist. He has published on aspects of forensic anthropology and archaeology.

Stephen Litherland BA, MA.

Stephen has been a forensic archaeologist for over twenty years and has been integral in the development of forensic archaeology in this country and formerly a consultant with the Forensic Search Advisory Group with Professor John Hunter, the founder of forensic archaeology in the UK.

Prior to his current role at Alecto Forensics, Stephen worked fulltime as the Lead Forensic Archaeologist and Reporting Scientist for both Cellmark Forensics and LGC Forensics. He has prepared numerous expert witness statements and acted as an expert witness in the UK criminal justice system on several occasions.

Stephen has carried out over one hundred forensic case investigations and also has extensive general archaeological fieldwork, excavation and project management experience. He has also provided training courses to police forces across the UK primarily focused on the search and recovery of buried human remains and the identification and recovery of forensic ecology evidence types.

Cecily Cropper BSc

Cecily is a freelance forensic archaeologist based in Wiltshire. After graduating in Archaeology in 1987, she worked for over a decade with Oxford Archaeology and a number of other archaeological units gaining experience in archaeological fieldwork, surveying and report writing.

Since 1999, Cecily has worked as a forensic archaeologist for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP), the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Iraq.

Cecily has also worked as lead archaeologist on crime scenes and forensic recoveries within the UK for various British police forces. She has extensive experience in the search and recovery of human remains, the recording and survey of burial sites and mass graves, and is experienced in the overall identification process needed for large scale and complex disaster victim and mass fatality situations. She is also experienced in intensive historic document research and cold case reviews and uses survey techniques to help create new search strategies and solve identification issues.

Samantha Pickles BSc MSc PGCE MCSFS FLS

Samantha Pickles has been a principal practitioner in Forensic Entomology since 2002, having been employed initially with Forensic Alliance/LGC Forensics before moving to Manlove Forensics. She expanded her expertise with an MSc in Medical Parasitology with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (University of London) and is presently completing a PhD in Medical Entomology with the University of Nottingham, and is now a Lead Casework Entomologist for Alecto Forensics.

Samantha has been cross-trained to conduct examinations within Biology, Drugs and Ecology departments, alongside acting as an expert witness and scene scientist in Entomology. She is regularly involved in multi-disciplinary investigations and has vast casework experience across a range of forensic and medical case types.

A Professional Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (Zoology), Samantha also holds a PGCE and teaches regularly at a number of universities. She organises and delivers workshops and training programmes to professional personnel and is particularly keen in sharing the standard procedures pertaining to the recovery and treatment of insect evidence. Samantha has always been driven by quality guidelines and is constantly involved with the development of examination methods, scene protocols and exhibit management.

Deborah Ryder BSc Hons MSc Phd PCIfA

Dr Deborah Ryder is an accredited (PCIfA) Forensic Archaeologist with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and an Assistant Anthropologist for Alecto Forensics.

Dr Ryder has experience working on clandestine burials, search and location, disaster victim identification and forensic investigations in the United Kingdom, and has also conducted anthropological and trauma assessment research on victims from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Dr Ryder has been trained in forensic investigation, DNA analysis, human and comparative osteology, soil analysis and archaeological science. Specifically her PhD research concentrated on the interactions of burial environments on decomposition, diagenesis and DNA degradation in human and animal remains.

Tim Fletcher MSc

Tim is a forensic archaeologist with specialist skills in geophysical and topographical survey techniques. An early career in the British Army (Royal Engineers) provided him with specialist skills in inshore and offshore diving and sub-surface search techniques, including the use of side scan SONAR and ground penetrating RADAR (GPR).

Building on this foundation he completed a Master’s Degree in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology with Cranfield University and now undertakes archaeological, geophysical and topographical services for Alecto Forensics. He specializes in the forensic use of geophysical search techniques and is currently developing and promoting the use of digital terrain mapping and 3D modelling data rapidly obtained from unmanned aerial platforms (UAVs). This emerging technology is already proving to an excellent operational planning tool and method for detailed recording of invasive searches.

In recent years he has worked a number of forensic cases for a variety of police forces across the UK and high profile cases overseas. These cases have covered a broad range of criminal investigations, including: murder, child abuse, body recovery, missing persons, historic genocide, servitude and forced labour.

Jay Griffiths, BSc Hons

Jay is an archaeologist with specialist skills in excavation and geophysical survey techniques.

His background in Archaeology and Landscape studies has given Jay key experience in required on-site skills such as recording and excavation, as well as post-excavation analysis and report writing. As part of the landscape aspect of his studies, Jay is trained in key software such as ArchGIS and is knowledgeable in geomorphology and landscape processes.

His undergraduate project focused on methods of archaeological geophysical surveying, to further the understanding of the effectiveness of multiple techniques on areas of known disturbed soil. His comparative study of principal techniques in magnetometry and resistivity surveying provided further knowledge of the appropriate methods of survey to be applied to different contexts.

Following on from his studies, Jay undertook work in commercial geophysics, and specialised in archaeological and utility based surveying. With two years experience in the field, Jay is trained in magnetometry, resistivity and radar surveying techniques, as well as methods of topographical survey.

He now seeks to apply this knowledge base and experience into a forensic environment.

James Eaton MSc APIS RAF

Lead Imagery Analyst

James is a leading consultant in Forensic Imagery Analysis; he has accumulated over 20 years of practitioner experience in imagery analysis, gained primarily with Royal Air Force Intelligence branch at the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC) at RAF Brampton, the Reconnaissance Intelligence & Geospatial Centre (RIGC) in Northern Ireland and more recently at the Defence Geospatial Intelligence Fusion Centre (DGIFC) at RAF Wyton.

A highly experienced senior aerial search and surveillance advisor to the National Crime Agency, Police and Law-enforcement agencies, James has particular expertise in the development and successful application of no-body murder aerial search techniques and has contributed to a number of high-profile missing persons investigations.

He has extensive experience in advising, briefing and liaising with Senior Investigating Officers, Detectives, Search Coordinators (PolSC), Search Advisors (PolSA) and Force intelligence. James has been invited by the Police National Search College to lecture on PolSA courses and regional conferences on numerous occasions. He is a qualified police air observer and is trained in advanced camera handling, aerial surveillance, police and military search techniques and forensic ecology.

Richard Thomas, Photography

After studying a photography degree at Staffordshire university, Richard returned to south Wales to work for Gwent Police, working in the photography lab and chemically enhancing exhibits from scenes and photographing the resulting fingerprints.

Building on this foundation, Richard joined the photographic department of the Metropolitan police where for the next seven years he provided photographic evidence for many high profile cases and a wide range of crimes including murders, post mortems, fire scenes and anti terrorist work all over the city.

From London, Richard continued expanding his photographic skills working at LGC Forensics, covering sites all over England and consistently providing excellent results for police forces in the UK. It was here that he developed software enhancement techniques that would provide essential evidence in many cases. Latent fingerprints and footwear marks were photographed before and after chemical enhancement under various wavelengths, luminol reactions, tyre marks, microscopy and exhibiting photographic albums for court were among the many tasks completed for over seven years at LGC. Colleagues who had previously never handled a camera were expertly trained by Richard to record and submit photographic evidence, following the procedures he wrote and implemented for the company. Courses were also written and delivered to overseas students.

Richard now works in several areas of photography, delivering a broad and high quality service, always looking to introduce new techniques and provide the best possible photographic evidence.